Adversity Is My Angel: The Life and Career of Raúl H. Castro

By Raúl H. Castro; Jack L. August Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
GOVERNOR OF ARIZONA

When Pat and I arrived in Tucson from our service in Central and South America in the winter of 1969-1970, John Molloy, chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, and Ed Loper, director of the Tucson YMCA, met us at the airport. Before we had the chance to gather our land legs, they began talking to me about running for political office. They discussed the US Senate and Arizona governor, but this seemed premature since I had been away from the state for nearly six years. I appreciated their respect and faith in me, but as I told Molloy that day, “I think you are crazy. I have been out of the country so long; people have forgotten about me, and no one knows me.” I needed to take time to assess the political landscape and contemplate if I wanted to seek statewide office; was it time for a Mexicanborn immigrant, naturalized in 1939, to run for governor or senator in a state like Arizona, which still struggled to embrace its Hispanic heritage?

At first I dismissed their suggestion, but as I traveled the state speaking to various business groups, high schools, community colleges, and labor organizations, I thought about Molloy’s ideas about seeking statewide office. If I ran for the US Senate, I would face incumbent senator Paul Fannin, a former governor who had close ties to the state’s business elite and reflected the Goldwater conservatism that fueled the political culture of fast-growing Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and other “pro-growth” communities.1 Incumbent Governor Jack Williams, a former radio personality, mayor of Phoenix, and two-term incumbent, was the fair-haired politico of the conservative Republican establishment as well, and his friendly and accessible public persona ingratiated him to the status quo.2 Both seemed unbeatable, but as I spoke to audiences in Flagstaff, Prescott, Douglas, Globe, and elsewhere during the spring of 1970, I began to reassess the validity of a run for office. On May 1, 1970, as I addressed the pro-business Tucson Trade Bureau, I informed this group of businessmen that I did not want to be a “sacrificial lamb,” but I might consider a run for governor if enough interest

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